There are plenty of big and important games taking place in week 11 of the college football season, but perhaps none bigger than one taking place in the Big Ten Conference. The Minnesota Golden Gophers will host the Penn State Nittany Lions in a battle of 8-0 teams on the season. Penn State was supposed to be great this season, but Minnesota is one of the biggest surprises in the world of college football. The winner of this game will be able to keep their dreams of reaching the College Football Playoffs alive.
Penn State is in a first place tie with Ohio State atop the East Division standings in the Big Ten Conference. The Nittany Lions have outscored their first eight opponents by an average of close to 30 points per game this season, and have a pair of wins over top-25 teams. Minnesota has outscored their opponents by an average of 18.0 points per game, but this is the first ranked team they will face. The Golden Gophers have a commanding lead in the Big Ten West Division, but still have work to do. Penn State is a -6.5 point road favorite over Minnesota in this huge Big Ten showdown.
Penn State Defense is Elite
Penn State is a very well rounded team this season, but their defense has been one of the best in college football. The Nittany Lions are allowing less than ten points per game this season, and they have faced some terrific offensive teams. Penn State loves to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and they have already racked up 30.0 sacks so far this season. Minnesota will challenge this Penn State defense in a variety of ways, but the Nittany Lions have been up to every challenge they’ve faced this season.
Even though the defense has gotten much of the attention this season, the Penn State offense has been terrific as well. Quarterback Sean Clifford has thrown 20 touchdowns to just three interceptions this season, and the Nittany Lions average over 250 passing yards per game. The Nittany Lions have four different players with over 240 rushing yards this season, and they will have plenty of balance in this game.
Golden Gophers Have Balanced Offensive Attack
Speaking of balance on offense; that is exactly how Minnesota has been able to get out to a perfect 8-0 start this season. Minnesota is averaging 225.0 passing yards per game to go along with over 204 rushing yards per game. Running back Rodney Smith is nearing 900 rushing yards this season, and will likely be featured early and often in this game. Quarterback Tanner Morgan has been solid as well, but has been sacked 16 times. Scoring points against this Penn State defense will be a challenge for Minnesota.
The Minnesota defense has been shaky at times, but they have given up just 20.0 points per game. The Golden Gophers have given up less than 17 points in each of their last four games, and they will need that kind of effort in this game. Minnesota has forced 18 turnovers this season, and that could be a huge key in this game.
Nittany Lions Pick Up Huge Road Win
This could definitely be a preview of the Big Ten Championship Game, but both teams still have plenty of work to do. The overall body of work by Penn State has been much more impressive than what Minnesota has been able to put together. The Golden Gophers are having a magical season, but all of that is going to end on Saturday. Penn State’s defense is going to shut down the Minnesota offensive attack, and the Nittany Lions are going to put up plenty of points. Bet the Penn State Nittany Lions -6.5 over the Minnesota Golden Gophers in this huge Big Ten Conference showdown. Take the Nittany Lions at our favorite pay per head location at A1PPH.